Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque called his critics “slow to gets” for their reaction to his viral statement about the country “winning” the fight against COVID-19.
Roque recently congratulated the public for beating a prediction made by University of the Philippines (UP) researchers that coronavirus cases in the country may rise to 40,000 by the end of June following ease of quarantine restrictions.
“Panalo na tayo! We beat the UP prediction po. We beat it, so congratulations Philippines. Let’s do it again in July. So, we are winning,” an enthusiastic Roque said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
He added, “Ang titingnan natin ay ang declining mortality, yung case doubling rate at saka siempre po, yung positivity rate na patuloy pong bumababa.”
As of June 30, the Department of Health has recorded 37, 514 cases.
Roque’s remarks did not sit well among netizens, with critics and some celebrities poking fun at who the “real enemy” is.
In an interview on Unang Hirit on Wednesday, Roque defended his statement saying, “Medyo-medyo slow sila to gets, ‘no? Hindi po talaga UP ang kalaban.”
He also stressed that COVID-19 remains the real enemy: “Ang kaaway po natin ay COVID-19, kaya lang po ginagamit ng UP ang mathematical models para mag-forecast kung ilan sa atin ang magkakaroon ng COVID-19,” he said.
In a separate interview with ANC, Roque also clarified that he was congratulating the public’s efforts.
“I was congratulating the people, not the government’s efforts, because in the end, it’s the people that will determine how fast the disease will spread,” he said.